In 806, Kobo Daishi began meditating on Mount Misen, the tallest mountain on the Japanese island of Itsukushima. The Buddhist monk lit this holy fire, which has been kept burning for 1,200 years.
The fire is known as Kiezu-no-hi (the Eternal Flame), and it’s one of the Seven Wonders of Misen. Other wonders you can see include Shakujo-no-ume (Holy Plum Tree) a plum tree said to have grown from Kobo Daishi’s staff; Mandara-iwa, a rock with writing and illustration from Kobo Daishi; and Kanman-iwa (Ebb-and-Flow Rock), rock where saltwater rises and subsides inside its hollow according to the tide.
Two of Misen’s wonders have been lost: Shigure-zakura (Dewy Cherry Tree), a cherry tree that was always moist with dew even on dry days, and Ryuoto No Sugi (Dragon Fire Cedar) A Japanese cedar tree that could be seen as mysterious lights from the sea. The cherry tree was cut down and the cedar died, leaving only a stump.
The last of Misen’s wonders can only be heard. Hyoshigi-no oto (Sound of Wooden Clappers) is said to be the sound of beating wooden clappers coming from nowhere. Local legend holds that the sound comes from a tengu, a goblin who lives in the mountain.